The Daily Quotidian

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Archive for June 2008

Freak on a Leash

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Today as I was coming back from my run, I saw in the distance a man with a tiny animal on a leash. As I approached, I thought it was a chihuahua. Then I saw that the creature had an extremely long tail. So  then thought the man had some sort of crazy  raccoon squirrel on a leash. Then the thing started to run faster toward me. And then it ran at me on its two hind legs.

I was astonished and kind of scared. Anyway, I asked the man trailing behind his pet, “What is that thing?”

“It’s a meerkat.”

I should have asked him a lot more questions after getting that response. But I was frightened so I just ran back home.

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Written by dailyquotidian

June 28, 2008 at 5:47 pm

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Pedestrian Dangers

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Oxford is hard to figure out. The housing system, the library system, the idioms people use. Everything. And I feel even dumber than usual. But the fact that I need to ask for help repeatedly from librarians, superintendents or service staff, is only a blow to my pride, and not a blow to my person.

For a physical reminder that I am completely out of my element, I need only step outside. I have successfully avoided getting hit by a car by sticking to sidewalks and being triply vigilant when I cross the street. But this has not helped me avoid bike traffic. Now, even in the United States, where people are all in agreement about what side of the street to ride on, bikes pose a problem in areas with high pedestrian (and vehicle) traffic. Here the streets are narrow and the population is so international that there is not consensus on how to negotiate traffic as a pedestrian or peddler. This is a combination for collision. Do bikers pass on the left like in the States? Or do they pass on the right to mimic auto traffic? This confusion also manifests itself in how people walk the sidewalks, but it is far less tricky because everything is slower.

The point is this: I have been yelled at by two bikers in two days. I am really trying not to interfere with any body’s ride, but, let’s face it, pedestrians always have right of way.

Written by dailyquotidian

June 26, 2008 at 8:14 pm

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From Across the Atlantic

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Well, so much has happened since I last blogged. I have traversed three states, two countries, and three time zones. And now I’m in England–Oxford to be exact.

England is full of charming phrases. Today I did not go to an ATM to get money, but a “hole in the wall,” which is cute because it is adamantly non-technological.

Unfortunately I can already tell that this cute comes at the price of efficiency. Not that the ATMs aren’t efficient. The one I used seemed fine. But everything here is so decentralized, which might preserve the character of a place more than streamlining and integration, but it also means that I need to accumulate 5 different library cards because I have to register separately at every library.

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June 25, 2008 at 3:47 am

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Been there. Done that.

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Written by dailyquotidian

June 19, 2008 at 5:16 am

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I got this email today…

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Date:  Saturday, June 7, 2008
 
Incident: Black Bear Sighting
 
The Department of Public Safety is alerting community members about a reported sighting of a black bear in [redacted]. The bear was seen by [redacted] Police at about 9 a.m. today.  In addition a bear sighting was reported in [redacted] and [redacted] on Friday, June 6, 2008, in the evening hours….

…The bear did not come into contact with any person, nor did it present any threat. Do not approach the bear or attempt to feed it.
 
If you see a bear, please contact the [redacted] Police,… the University’s Department of Public Safety, or dial 911 and give the exact location of the animal.  Leave the area calmly and slowly.

 

My question is this: would the police have arrested the bear if it were white?

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June 7, 2008 at 6:32 pm

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From the archives…

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Unlike most things that begin with the phrase “from the archives,” this is actually from an archive:

Oh? Did you not catch that? Let me try to get a better shot:

Written by dailyquotidian

June 6, 2008 at 12:08 am

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Obama and AIPAC, SNCC, CORE, SNLC and other acronyms

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So this morning I accidentally watched Obama’s speech to the Jewish Lobby. Most of the speech was blah blah Israel, Palestine, Katuysha, blah blah, Hamas, Iran, Iraq, McCain, blah. And these topics all got applause at the appropriate time.

But the best part of the speech–or at least the part that seemed to move the audience and myself the most–was when he talked about those Northern dogoodniks who came down to march alongside oppressed southern blacks during the 1960s .

The Jewish involvement in the Civil Rights movement is arguably one of the best chapters of American Jewish history. This era–and the sixties more generally–is shrouded in nostalgia. And perhaps that nostalgia is made even stronger by the oft-commented on deterioration of Black-Jewish relations.

Anyway that’s kind of boring, but what it made me think about was how the Obama phenomenon (Obamanomenon?) itself is kinda like an extension of some race dream of the 1960s. Is this why youth and boomers alike find something in the Obama campaign (something, that is, besides the obvious talent and dynamism of the man)? For the young, Obama represents something fresh, a change. But for the middle aged, is he the fulfillment of their youthful hopes–hopes once derided as “merely” idealistic?

Written by dailyquotidian

June 4, 2008 at 11:48 pm

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